So it was a year ago today that I took delivery of my new bike. It was the first bike I had owned since I was at university and had been purchased after I had signed up for the London to Paris bike ride for Myeloma UK – just 4 months after having my 2nd stem cell transplant. When I think back, I think I must have been slightly delusional at the time!! I’m sure Nick thought so, although he would never have said! I’m genuinely not sure that he ever thought I’d go through with it all!
I think even signing up to it was a bit crazy. I was still very much recovering from my transplant, and still very much lacking in energy. I didn’t even know if the transplant had worked (it’s looking pretty good 16 months on thankfully!). So I didn’t know if I’d be well enough to ride at all, let alone 308 miles in 4 days.
But now a year on, cycling really has become a part of my life, and I’m so grateful for it as a means of keeping me on top of my mental health too. Some of you will know that the actual 2021 London to Paris was postponed till September 2022, but that I managed to do it in the UK thanks to my amazing cycling friends!! I was super proud of what I achieved. And so grateful for cycling taking over my life, at a time where I had to give up my netball due to weak bones and bad backs (I blame the drugs 😞)
I was quite worried about cycling over the winter as it was something I’d not done. For those of you who don’t know, myeloma lowers your immune system, so I always try to be careful in the winter to avoid illnesses and putting myself at risk. Recovering is always harder for me than for a healthy person so better not to get into that situation in the first place. So cycling in the cold and rain was an unnerving process! Thankfully while it’s been cold, it hasn’t been wet very often and, touch wood, I’ve avoided getting poorly! Phew!
So I’m now 7 months away from the 2022 London to Paris. My health seems to be fairly stable and I’m keeping those fingers crossed it stays that way because I AM going to Paris. I’ve worked too hard not to do this!
I also need my health to continue to be strong because I’m now working (almost) full time!! I’ve got a role as the Community Fundraiser for Brain Tumour Research and I absolutely love my work. I feel so lucky that for the first time in my life, I look forward to getting up and working, I rarely want to stop in the evenings, and I even miss it a bit at the weekends! That from the lady who used to manage to moan about any job she ever did. I feel like I’ve finally found my perfect job! I’m so lucky as I have an amazing boss who supports me, develops me, but mainly, who seems to trust me. I’m not sure I’ve ever really had that before. And for the first time ever, I feel confident that I’m pretty ok at what I do.
Working is probably the main reason I haven’t written on here for ages. I’m soooo busy and what with cycling at weekends, it’s hard to fit it all in. I think also, being well always makes me feel like people won’t really want to hear about my boring life! Funnily I was talking to Myeloma UK about early diagnosis the other day and that whole piece on survivor guilt. Something I often struggle with. And writing a blog telling everyone how lucky I am, potentially isn’t helpful. And actually, I’m not sure how much people want to hear about my mundane, day to day life.
Well, the weekend is here, and I’ll be off again on Sunday trying to get my miles up and get fit again for September. I’m pleased that I’m not starting from scratch like last year but I’ve still got a way to go. If you read this, and think it’s something you’d like to join in on, please let me know! I’m doing it with my niece (and 100 odd other Myeloma patients/ consultants/ families/ supporters) and we’d love other people to join in for my #50KB450. I’d really like to get that bit closer to my £50,000 as we’re nearly 80% of the way as we start 2022 (that’s £165,000 in total to date!)
Anyway, I wanted to post today to mark the anniversary of my move into cycling. And to say thank you to everyone who has supported me in my journey – I really am more grateful that you’ll ever realise.